Many people believe it is not polite to discuss religion in public, especially in mixed company. It is seen as a divisive. Nothing good can come from bringing it up. The same can be said of politics. And money. And morals. They are all taboo. People might disagree, so they should not be discussed at all. They are banished to the closet of discourse. It is better to talk of happier things, like the weather. Only when you are amongst people who already agree with you, are you allowed to broach these subjects.
“Jesus is Lord!” – “Of course he is!”
“Obama is a socialist!” – “Absolutely!”
“Gillard lied!” – “Well what did you expect?”
“Angela Merkel has an insane fear of inflation!” – “Well, she is German.”
Personally, I disagree with this philosophy. If you genuinely believe your particular belief system is the only correct one, or the only path to salvation, what right do you have to keep it to yourself? By not bringing it up, aren’t you robbing your fellow man of that idea? How can humanity advance if we don’t tell each other exactly what we believe? How can we find the truth without having an honest and open conversation? How can you know you are correct if you never challenge your viewpoint?
First, lets look at this argument in the context of Christianity. Jesus made it explicit that the only way to heaven was through him. The alternative that Jesus offers is an eternity of Hell. Eternal bliss or eternal torture, those are our only options, and there is only one approach through which to reach eternal bliss: Jesus. Those of other faiths or other ideas, and those who practice frowned-upon behaviour are destined to unimaginable torture and punishment. The only way to the correct course is to find out about Jesus and accept him. But, how do you find Jesus? How do you find the correct path? The only way is through discourse! Even if you are born into a Christian family, the only way to find Jesus is if someone tells you about him. So, if you are a Christian and truly believe this scenario is the truth, what right to do you have to keep it to yourself? What right do you have to deny a stranger a universal truth that you so willingly give to those you love? If you hold your tongue, are you not condemning the unbelievers to hell? Is it moral not to tell them about their fate? Is it moral not to give them a way out? Is it moral not to share the truth? And how can you know it is the truth if you do not test it against someone else’s truth?
What about atheists? If you are an atheist you believe that religious people are wasting a lot of things. They waste their time when they sit in Church and Temple. They waste their money when they tithe and contribute to offerings. They waste their energy when they study their religion. They waste their efforts in trying to enforce their morals through legislative fiat. Again, if you believe this is true, shouldn’t you share your information? If you truly believe your fellow man is wasting so much, are you not robbing them of a lot by not imparting your ideas? Are you not robbing them of a fantastic reality? It may not be as gallant as saving someone from a fiery pit, but surely saving someone from wasting so much of the only life they have is warrant enough. And similarly, how can you know you are correct if you never test your beliefs?
What about political beliefs? While not quite as tribal as religious belief systems, political discourse seems to be equally scorned. But, if you believe your version of what is right, is right, how can you deny your fellow voter your ideas? How can you hope to achieve what you believe is best if you are silent until Election Day? How can you hope for improvement without discourse? How can you hope for action without drawing a spotlight? And what right do you have to hold your tongue while your country goes down the wrong path? Is that not as immoral as allowing a stranger to go to hell? Is that not as perverse as allowing someone to waste their life? And, again, how can you hope to arrive at reality without being exposed to all the realities that are out there?
Please, everyone, I urge you to be evangelical. There is nothing more selfish I can think of, than withholding reality. If you truly believe you are correct, you have no right to withhold your information from anyone else. This is especially so when it has eternal ramifications, but it is also true in the political realm. Furthermore, how can anyone profess absolute truth when they have not exposed themselves to all the truths that are out there? How can we arrive at truth if we blindly accept one and never let in any others? How can our truths be perfected unless they are exposed to other truths? How can we have good debate when so many of the important topics are off limits? If you believe you are correct, please speak up.
Originally posted @ Sakalabujan Magazine